Holy Week warm up

March 25, 2013 Monday of Holy Week

Spring came last Wednesday according to the calendar date. According to the weather “feel” it was far from spring…temperature was 2 degrees and the wind chill was minus 20 with very strong winds and a few flakes of new snow! Today it is already near 30 degrees and won’t get much higher than that…which is fine because then the snow will melt more slowly and perhaps help lessen the spring flooding.

Friday evening, March 22nd, Sister Rachel Zenzen, age 93, went to heaven. Sisters had been sitting with her a day or so before her death. This is only the second time in the 70 or so times I’ve sat with Sisters since 2003,that a Sister has died during my watch. When Sisters remember Sr. Rachel, they always remind us of her good cooking, especially her apple pies. We have her Wake this evening and her Funeral is tomorrow. Thank you, Sister, for how you followed St. Francis in your gentle ways and service to others.

March 19th was the Feast of St. Joseph. Sr. Joel, as usual, had a very lovely arrangement near the altar to remind us of this great saint who quietly went about his work of caring for Jesus and Mary. May our lives imitate Joseph in our dedication to love and service of Jesus. Jesus said, “What you do to the lease of My People you do to Me.”

 There was lots of palm weaving all day yesterday. I know only four or five different patterns, but can figure out other designs by using Sister Cecilia’s books. It’s great to see Sisters teaching one another and helping one another with the various folds.

We have several special events during Holy Week. Thursday, Friday and Saturday we have Morning Prayer together in Chapel at 8 a.m. Thursday evening we have our Agape prayer and dinner at 4:30 p.m. The Agape prayer service is a time where we remember the Last Supper of the first Holy Thursday with special readings and prayers before we eat our meal. Our Eucharistic Service is at 7 p.m. with adoration until 10 p.m.

On Good Friday at 9:30 a.m. we have a silent walk for peace where we walk silently through the city of Little Falls with people taking turns carrying a 4-foot wooden cross. We stop at several places along the mile-long route to pray and sing a song, remembering the people associated with that stop…praying for the elderly, the sick and the dying, veterans and all those in military service, the care of creation, students and teachers, the work of the Churches, for people who work in business and financial institutions, police men and women, those incarcerated and others.

At 11 a.m. we will have Stations of the Cross both in Chapel and outside—praying the stations painted by Sr. Alice Doll that are along the path to our cemetery.

At 2 p.m. we have our Good Friday Services in Chapel.

Saturday—the Easter Vigil Service is t 8 p.m. followed by fellowship in St. Francis Hall.

And Sunday is EASTER SUNDAY! The Lord is Risen! Rejoice and be glad!

Happy Easter.

Sister Mary Lou


Spring starts in two days!

March 18, 2013

Spring starts in two days! That’s hard to believe…all the area schools closed today because of the 5 to 6 inches of snow overnight and the 30 to 50 mph winds and wind chills to minus 20 degrees tonight!!! I’m just staying in the house today. Many roads are closed today, also.

How about our new Pope! Pope Francis! We Franciscans are particularly happy about the name he chose…Francis of Assisi. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct him in the huge job he has. Let us all be sure to pray daily for him. March 13, 2013 is a day to remember.

My vacation in Texas was wonderful! Our brothers and their spouses were great hosts to my sister, Cecelia, and me. Besides it being so nice and warm, the things I notice first and often were all the blooming shrubs and bushes and all the birds singing all day long. The Barbershop Group that my brother Nick belongs to, had their final concert of the year one evening. That was fun. One song they sang was “Mary Lou.” The director proclaimed all women in the audience “Mary Lou” for that song. We had snow banks and a 2-hour delay when leaving MN on the 5th… and that afternoon we were at South Padre Island and had big, hard sand banks crossing the roads and making driving a challenge—just like snow banks in MN! Fresh grapefruit and orange juice was a real treat.

Exciting activities happened at the Motherhouse while I was gone. One was the visit of the “Mississippi River Water Walkers.” This group of 11 walkers, seemingly all Native American, came into the dining room, March 9th, to a cheering and clapping group of Sisters and who later sent them on their way with the Blessing of St. Francis. They came from WI, MN, PA and Canada. Others join them for shorter walks along the way. Two of them will do the entire walk from the source of the Mississippi, Lake Itasca, MN, to the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans, a 1,200 mile trek. Their mission: “to call attention to the quality issues for all of Mother Earth’s waters.” They started out on March 1st, and hope to be in New Orleans by April 29th, carrying a pail of water from the source of the Mississippi, the entire journey that will be poured in out at mouth of the Mississippi. God bless them on their journey and for pointing out the need for caring for our precious resource of clean, pure water. They said, “Walk slow and pray hard, because our water is contaminated.” People can track the Mississippi Water Walkers progress on Facebook.

There was a bi-lingual Mass on March 12th. Father Tony Kroll is our faithful celebrant for these “Spanish Masses.” Our singing the Spanish songs is getting better each time.

On March 14, our Sister Corrine Millner was 99 years young. God bless you, Sister for all the good you’ve done these many years.

Daylight Savings Time started on the 10th. This morning I found two more clocks that needed to jump ahead an hour.

Ten Knit and Stitchers, were here for their annual time of sewing and friendhip.

This week, March 17 to 23rd is National Agriculture Week. This is a good time to salute the hard-working men and women on local family farms for helping supply the safest most reasonably priced food supply in the world. In Minnesota 53% of the state’s total land is dedicated to agriculture. Minnesota ranks 1st in turkey production, 1st in sugar beets, 3rd in hog production, 3rd in soy beans, 4th in corn, 6th in honey production, 6th in dairy and 8th in total livestock production. Thanks, farmers. I’m proud to be a farmer’s daughter.

On March 13th we had a “Poland Dining Adventure.” There were lots of good Polish Foods, both for lunch and dinner. The cooks can make those things again! Many members of the local Polish Club were our guests for the evening meal. Pete and Joy’s Restaurant loaned us many pieces of Polish pottery for ambiance.

For me, the most important part of this past weekend was the Retreat for Secular Franciscans. Our speaker was Gerry Straub, the founder of Pax et Bonum Communications, a film based ministry to the poor. He is the author of 6 books and produced 18 documentary films on global and domestic poverty. Rooted in Franciscan spirituality, along with the mystical traditions of all faiths, Pax et Bonum Communications champions the importance of contemplation and action. Gerry says, “We believe the best way to love God is through acts of love, mercy, compassion and kindness, especially for those living in acute poverty. We believe that care for the chronically poor is an essential component of the spiritual life of sharing, caring and giving. We believe violence is always wrong, that war is never a solution. Our goal is to stress the necessity of prayer, penance, harmony, humility and social justice.” Through his presentation and the film clips he showed, we learned much about “Poverty and Prayer”, the theme of our retreat day. “Pax et Bonum” or “Pace e bene” was the greeting St. Francis used, meaning “Peace and blessings.” Visit Gerry’s blog at www.gerrystraub.wordpress.com or his web site at www.PaxEtBonumComm.org.

Palm Sunday is next Sunday. My palms came last week and are being stored in the refrigerator until I need them. Tuesday afternoon we have someone coming to do an interview on palm braiding/weaving. Our Sister Cecilia Schmitt wrote a couple books on the art of palm braiding. The nice thing about these books is that there are directions to make MANY different items. My specialty is palm fish. Then on Wednesday three of us plan on going to Sobieski to help the CCD students do some palm weaving.

This is enough for one writing! Are any of you still with me?

May your Holy Week be prayerful, remembering the importance of the events of this week.

Peace and blessings,
Sister Mary Lou


Moving into March

March 4, 2013

We’ve moved into March. The first couple days were really March coming in like a lamb, but the weather forecasts look like the Lion is on the way. We had a Secular Franciscan gathering in Bloomington on Saturday. The roads were perfect for driving. Thank you, God.

Sister Mary DeLourdes Kolles, age 90, went to heaven this morning at 6:25 a.m. I do not know funeral arrangements at this time. Eternal Life to you, Sr. DeLourdes. Thank you for all the good you’ve done your many years of life.

What does a Day of Prayer look like? Friday was a good example. Friday was the 122nd Birthday of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN. We celebrated the day with a festive Mass and lots of singing. It was on March 1, 1891, that Bishop Zardetti received the vows of three Sisters. Then he read the Decree of Established for our Community. A bit of history: After the fire at Belle Prairie, the Sisters lived in two little houses in northeast Little Falls. In May 1891, Major Morrill donated five acres of land to the Sisters. Little Falls Lumber Company donated lumber to build a slab shanty. This was the start of our campus. A slab shanty was the first building. The sisters lived there until they could move into the unfinished Motherhouse building in the fall of 1891.

Judi assembled a nice bulletin board of the first two years of our Community history. We just have to follow the footprints. In Chapel there was a display of the original 16 Foundresses and a picture of Sister Mary Francis Beauchamp, our first Community Leader.

At 1:30 we hosted the World Day of Prayer in our Chapel. This year the prayer service was prepared by the women of France. (Each year the service is put together by the women of a different country.) Many women of all the Little Falls Churches were in attendance. It was a holy time with all of us praying for peace in our world. The theme was “Welcoming the Stranger.” Sr. Fran acted as the stranger. Many of us did not recognize her as she wandered into Chapel, looking at everything there. Then in a short time all those with parts in the prayer service welcomed her and made her feel at home.

At 3:30 we had the Stations of the Cross. And shortly after that we had our Evening Prayer. O Lord, hear our prayer. O Lord, hear our prayer.

After brunch this morning, I went over to St. Francis Center to see what kinds of things The Benton County Homemakers were making. They were making cute little purses from men’s neck ties. What a nice remembrance when a Dad or brother dies. They were also making pillows with the pictures of grandchildren on them. This group comes the first weekend of March and have been doing it for the last 19 years.

Last September at our community meetings, we were each given a few marigold seeds. Mine has flourished.

Please pray for safe travel. My sister, Cecelia, and I will be going on vacation to McAllen, TX to visit our “snow bird” brothers.

May your Lent be going well.
Peace and blessings,

Sister Mary Lou